A law degree, along with years of practical experience under the guidance of a wise mentor, does help prepare a person to practice law, but it does not necessarily prepare someone to master the science of regulatory compliance, particularly in health care. For that reason, I have enrolled in Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies’ Master of Science in Regulatory Compliance program (nights and weekends for 2-5 years), with a focus on health care regulatory compliance. I’ve already selected a thesis topic: integrating health care regulatory compliance (such as the content found in Wolters Kluwer Law & Business’ ComplyTrack, Compliance Suite & Health Reform KnowlEDGE Center) into clinical decision support tools used by clinicians at the point of care (such as Wolters Kluwer Health’s UpToDate & ProVation Order Sets). Of course, my thesis advisors might advise selecting another topic. I view regulatory compliance as more than just preventive law. In the context of health care, it is about achieving optimal clinical outcomes at reasonable cost while complying with regulations. Read further >
Vice President of Strategy & Competitive Intelligence
Wolters Kluwer Global Platform Organization
John Barker is Vice President of Strategy & Competitive Intelligence in Wolters Kluwer’s Global Platform Organization. In this role, John provides strategic direction for Wolters Kluwer’s global tax, legal, and regulatory content delivery platform, Global Atlas, and shares strategic product design best practices globally across Wolters Kluwer.
John has an extensive background in professional publishing, including as a Product Manager and Executive Legal Consultant at LexisNexis, a consultant, and award-winning Account Manager for Thomson Reuters. John has appeared as a keynote speaker at multiple Law Librarian Associations, and authored more than 50 articles discussing the application of technology to the practice of law. He has served as a Special Counsel for Technology at the Indianapolis law firm of Ice Miller LLP, and had a clerkship to a U.S. Magistrate with the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
John holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, and a BA in Philosophy, magna cum laude, from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
Posts by John Barker
My colleague, Peter Liang, recently made a post about Google’s mobilegeddon. I’d like to contextualize it a bit more for law firms, though I’m not the first to do so. Lawyer.com observed that 46% of small firm websites and 39% of all law firm websites failed the mobilegeddon test. Lexblog’s Kevin O’Keefe cited Visibility’s report that 53% of the 350 largest law firms lack a mobile-responsive website. Law firms must care because they publish content to websites to attract the attention of their existing and potential corporate legal clients. The 2014 ABA Tech Survey reveals that 91% of attorneys use a smartphone. Some of those are certainly attorneys in corporate legal departments. Read further >
I’ve posted about the integration of social media as citing references into citation indexes, such as the CCH Citator, GlobalCite®, KeyCite and Shepard’s® Citation Service, used by lawyers and other legal professionals to determine whether a primary source of law remains valid for an argument as well as to find more relevant documents discussing that argument. In this post, I want to cover other dimensions of social media: collaboration, intelligent filtering and citator crowd wisdom. Read further >
There is a lot of friction that companies doing business in multiple countries must hire attorneys to reduce and manage data, especially since each country has its own privacy laws for retention and management of customer and employee data. Rules for advertising, marketing, selling (and collecting taxes on those sales), developing, and enhancing products can differ by country. Labor laws and policies vary by country. Don’t forget, of course, the impact of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties. Large corporations have the resources to hire expert in-house corporate legal departments and pay for services by outside counsel to manage these transaction costs. But what about smaller corporations? After all, 95% of businesses are small businesses. Many of them only have one attorney in their corporate legal departments or have none at all. Yet, like big businesses, they must import and export and manage global supply chains. So how can these smaller businesses manage the transaction costs and reduce the friction of international business? Read further >
I like Wolters Kluwer Health’s UpToDate‘s model of current awareness. Subject-matter experts in healthcare monitor articles in medical journals and results of clinical trials and incorporate into the evidence-based clinical decision support guidelines within UpToDate so that medical professionals’ decisions are truly up to date. Instead of merely presenting the most recent journal articles for reading – and there are hundreds of thousands every year – UpToDate presents a “comprehensive synthesis of the evidence.” In summary, UpToDate makes health and medical current awareness actionable. In my opinion, UpToDate is an inspirational model for current awareness for lawyers, accountants and compliance professionals. So how might UpToDate’s model of presenting practice-changing updates manifest in the tax, legal & regulatory space? Here are some examples: Read further >
Today’s professionals – accountants, lawyers, physicians, nurses, paralegals and law librarians – interact with a plethora of knowledge objects (print books, ebooks, online research databases, workflow tools linked to those research databases, and software applications). There is a tendency for each knowledge object to have a unique path of discovery, purchase and delivery. Want an ebook? Go to the estore. Want software or a research product? Call a sales rep. But Amazon’s digital engagement model offers a different way. Read further >
I observe similar trends in knowledge management tools for healthcare and legal professionals. Both doctors and lawyers must increase productivity in the face of ever more challenging patient/client demands. They don’t have time for a lot of reading and research. So knowledge management for both must focus on providing practical synoptic content. In my opinion, several healthcare knowledge management (KM) tools that provide evidence-based clinical decision support to providers can serve as inspiration for legal KM. Read further >
My recent read of Walter Isaacson’s book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, caused me to probe into the history of innovation at Wolters Kluwer and other organizations. Here are my take-aways from Isaacson’s book (maybe you have others): Read further >
The billable hour pricing model for law firms in the US & UK isn’t dead yet, particularly for complex litigation, M&A, and tax matters. But it’s under pressure: corporate legal clients’ need to reduce costs and their willingness to look to alternative providers of legal services – including outsourced legal research, out-sourced/off-shored legal drafting & document review as well as automation, including automated regulatory compliance and intelligent interactive document assembly. In reality, law firms must adapt to the unbundling of their value chain. The challenge is most law schools didn’t offer joint MBA/JD programs and teach best business practices in business strategy (e.g., Michael Porter) in the legal curriculum. In addition to studying Michael Porter to understand how large corporate clients’ executive boards and strategy departments are thinking about their business goals, I recommend focusing on the following 3 success factors to adapt: Read further >
There are several articles recommending that law firms leverage the expert search and knowledge management (KM) expertise of law library staff in business development. For example, in an article posted at Altman Weil, Nina Cunningham suggests two actions law library staff might take to enhance their role in law firm business development, namely, (1) partner closely with the IT department of the firm and (2) become an expert in the firm’s major practice groups. Partnering with the IT department is essential because IT often controls access to all KM technologies in the firm, including firm-wide portals/intranets and practice group distribution lists. Expertise in a practice area enables law library staff to create ever more relevant search alerts for members of the practice group and gain deeper insight into the preferred channels for each member to receive bizdev-related current awareness (smartphone/tablet, Intranet, RSS, social media, etc.). Another article posted at aallnet.org recommends that law library staff should partner closely with the firm’s marketing department – and to be sure that the marketing teams give proper credit to law library staff that help in running queries, analyzing search results, and creating profiles of clients, their competitors and the firm’s competitors. But there is much more value that the law library can provide. Read further >